As our nation’s education systems continuously look for ways to cut the budget, we need to remember that some cuts could have lasting effects on our children’s safety. Schools in Norfolk Virginia, in reaction to a steadily shrinking budget for school nurses, have started considering certain money saving techniques that could leave our schools unprepared to care for a child when they need it most. Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) could soon be replacing Registered Nurses (RN) at our local schools in an effort to bridge the gap between current salaries and future budget cuts. As concerned parents, and citizens, we should remember that our children’s safety while at school should be our utmost concern, and instead of replacing the current RN’s with less qualified LPN’s, we should push our government to increase the budget, allowing for a continued high level of care for our school children.
Virginia provides $1.2 million to Norfolk nurses, and has projected that at least a third of this aid will be cut in 2013-2014, along with at least nine or ten jobs cut due to attrition by the current nurse at the school. This cut has caused many at the School Board to consider cost cutting measures such as replacing the current RNs with LPNs, who provide a smaller range of care, but in turn, can be paid less by the state. Doctor’s are concerned that LPN’s do not receive the same depth of training that RN’s do, and as a result, could be less equipped to handle situations such as anaphylactic shock, and other life threatening medication conditions. Some of the children’s parents have rebutted this opinion, Andrea Pearce, a local parent, stated that “LPN’s can do a lot of things: They can administer medication, give injections, (etc)….” However these LPNs would fall short if faced with a serious medical issue, or patients that require more qualified care.
Although budget cuts may be a necessary evil in our state governments today, we as concerned citizens must take a stand and ensure that our children are safe and properly cared for at school. Any reduction of requirements for these nurses will increase the potential for serious health and medical complications while at school. Our children should be our number one priority.
About the Editors: The Shapiro Lewis Appleton & Favaloro personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, Eastern Shore Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service.